John Hennessey builds the fastest cars in the world. His company manufactures the Hennessey Venom GT, the fastest American composite supercar, and an impressive 2,600 pound design capable of 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. Hennessey has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and he’s recognized as one of the most important innovators in the American automotive marketplace.

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What originally attracted you to the performance market?

I’ve cared about cars for as long as I can remember. When I was 3 or 4 years old I would ride around with my dad in his 1964 Pontiac GTO. Once you get the taste for good-sounding cars, it sticks with you. The first car I ever owned was a 1969 Oldsmobile convertible and I started modifying it the moment it was mine.

What originally attracted you to the performance market?

for as long as I can remember. When I was 3 or 4 years old I would ride around with my dad in his 1964 Pontiac GTO. Once you get the taste for good-sounding cars, it sticks with you. The first car I ever owned was a 1969 Oldsmobile convertible and I started modifying it the moment it was mine.

What makes your company unique and competitive?

The lifecycle of “what’s cool” changes every 18 months. We see a different line-up of cars every few months; for example, a few months ago we had 25 Chevrolet Camaros’ in the garage. And today, we still see Camaros, but the Ford Raptor is more popular. As far as aftermarket work, you need to know what the next new thing is going to be and guess what the public wants. I’ve had new customers tell me, “After seeing what you did with the Dodge Viper, it interest me to get some work done.” We drive our own market and growth based on how good of a job we do with our products and services.

Where do you go to get new ideas for your aftermarket designs?

What invigorates my passion for building cars is getting involved with new projects. You can only improve yourself and your knowledge of the marketplace by trying and learning new things. I also read everything I can to find out what goes on in the automotive market. I read tons of articles in Auto Blog, Edmunds, Inside Line but I also attend a good number of trade shows. Trade shows offers people like me the opportunity to see a product, and – what’s more important for me – the opportunity to meet the people behind the project. It’s exciting to learn why engineers do things a specific way and ultimately that’s the biggest difference between learning information from the internet and in person.